Academic Session 34: Loughborough 2017

43rd Annual Conference & Art Book Fair
Loughborough University
6th to 8th April 2017
Visualising the Post-human, Cyborgs and Cybersexuality in Contemporary Art


Ming Turner, National Cheng Kung University,

Post-human as an academic term has been debated widely since the late 1970s. Ihab Hassan’s Prometheus as performer: Toward a posthuman culture?, published in 1977, contends that technology both influences medical science and governs our daily consumer culture. Meanwhile, Steve Nichols’s Post-human Manifesto, published in 1988, maintains that people today are already living in a post-human condition. The phenomenon of the post-human reveals a state of anxiety and uncertainty resulting from the condition of being somewhere between human and inhuman. The post-human takes the shape of our bodies, but exists as a hybrid of our biological forms and technology, including in the form of the cyborg, which, according to feminist philosopher Donna Haraway is ‘a cybernetic organism, a hybrid of machine and organism, a creature of social reality as well as a creature of fiction’ (1991: 69).

Haraway’s concept of the cyborg addresses how the post-human demonstrates a form of tension and indecision between the human and the non-human, allied to the idea of the phenomenon of combining the human body with technology. A cyborg as an individual transcends gender duality in the material world, and by rejecting gender duality, cyborgs further deconstruct gender identification and re-present the bodily symbols of post-humanist desire. It is now evident that technology has realised many of the ideas previously only imagined in the realms of science fiction and fairytales.

This session consists of papers from academics, curators, theorists and artists wishing to address the issues and discourses that explore the visualisation of the ideas of the post-human, cyborgs and cybersexuality through the lens of contemporary art practice, with particular emphasis on the perspectives of art and science.

Click here to download a .pdf of this session's paper abstracts

Kerstin Borchhardt
(Leipzig University) A Monstrous Synthesis: HR Gigers Posthuman Creatures

(Withdrawn) Li Töppe (Independent Art Historian) Enhancement and Construction. Methods of plastic surgery and prosthetics in the practice of contemporary art

Alice Channer (Independent Artist) and Mara Kölmel (Leuphana University Lüneburg) Reworking the Posthuman in Contemporary Sculpture: A Performative Presentation

George Themistokleous (Leeds Beckett University) Constructing a Machinic Visuality

Marianna Tsionki (Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art, Manchester & Manchester Metropolitan University) Have artists and curators turned to cyborgs? The case of Dani Ploeger’s Retired Cybernetic Organism #2 at the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art

Ming Turner (National Cheng Kung University) The Post-human body: Wu Tzu-Ning’s Incubation: Born beyond the Womb

Beccy Kennedy (Manchester Metropolitan University) Playing the Human Suite: Contrasting optimistic and dystopic examples of transhumanism in Nam June Paik’s and Bryan Fuller’s human-cello creations